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Protesting workers say elections will only benefit ruling class

Surya Karya Online - March 14, 2009

Jakarta – On Saturday afternoon, hundreds of workers from trade unions in Jakarta and the satellite cities of Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi (Jabodetabek), held a protest action opposing the 2009 elections saying that it will not benefit the ordinary people.

he protesters, most wearing red T-shirts and carrying red-and-white flags, began the demonstration by gathering at the Hotel Indonesia roundabout in Central Jakarta. Shouting anti-election slogans, they then moved off via Jl. Thamrin towards the State Palace.

Action spokesperson Toni said that the protest action represented a concrete expression by workers who see this year’s elections as being the same as previous ones, which only benefited the ruling class and owners of capital.

“The experience of the 1999 and 2004 elections is something we can tangibly feel, that there has been not one meaningful change for the ordinary people coming out of these elections. It is only the owners of capital and their political party edifices that are able to take part in the elections, so like previous elections, the 2009 elections will not bring about any genuine change for the ordinary people”, said Toni.

Looking at past realities and historical experience, the working class is declaring its opposition to and inviting the public to reject the 2009 elections. It is also calling for the building of a force to oppose the elections within a political vehicle, built independently by the people, with the aim of delegitimising the powers that are born out of these undemocratic elections and to clear a path towards a platform to take power.

Toni cited five reasons for opposing the elections: That the elections are dominated by the bourgeoisie or the owners of capital, only the political elite and the political parties that deceive the people are able to take part, also taking part are corruptors and human rights violators, the elections will not provide an opportunity for the people’s movement and the 2009 elections are not the way to provide prosperity to the people.

Toni also said that neither the Labour Party or the Indonesian Workers and Employers Party, which are taking part in the 2009 elections, represent the interest of workers or the ordinary people, because both parties are largely defending the interests of those in power and the owners of capital.

As the protesters approached the State Palace, the group was intercepted by police who asked them not to use a loudspeaker if they plan to continue the demonstration in front of the State Palace.

[Translated by James Balowski.]

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